It’s no surprise that one of the songs on Lisbeth," the first album from Canadian singer/songwriter James Bruce Moore, is entitled “Stars of Silver.” After all, a number of tracks on the CD are about light – the light that emanates from life, and the light that fades when life passes away. In Moore’s case, it’s from his late wife, whom the album is named after and dedicated to. But there is a light that shines from the sweetness of memory, of long-gone days that will always continue to brighten the heart. For Moore, the key to moving on is accepting that, of allowing that light to guide a better, less painful future.
Lisbeth Moore was diagnosed with leukemia, and even though she was still alive to hear the songs on the album mastered, there is emptiness in the air that cannot be denied. “Stars of Silver” caresses with its coffeehouse warmth but there is a melancholic tinge in the lyrics that really stings. Don’t expect the black-coat grimness of fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen
, though; Moore’s easygoing, folk style is closer to that of Gordon Lightfoot.
In the tradition of early ‘70s acoustic rock, Moore is a storyteller, and a compelling one at that. “Residential School” is a potent protest song about the Canadian Indian residential school system. “After All These Years” is a sentimental reflection on a love affair, how affection can continue to flow and deepen as the decades fly past. Although the music is relatively mellow, the emotional weight of Moore’s lyrics does not actually equal easy listening. This is a record that touches the heart and stimulates the mind, just like life is supposed to.